The Love Is Blind hive has grown into a swarm, and its sights are set on Jessica Batten. It didn't take long for the 34-year-old contestant to find herself the villain of the season after a love triangle with Amber Pike and Matt Barnett. She ended up getting engaged to Mark Cuevas, but confirmed long-held suspicions that she was not truly in love with him during Thursday's wedding finale. In the episode, she ultimately says "I don't" to the 24-year-old. Throughout the show's three-week stint, she's been called everything from "insecure and desperate" to an "alcoholic with a problem" on places like Reddit thanks to her conversations with Barnett and drinking habits and been featured in a Saturday Night Live sketch about the show. She even had to limit her Instagram comments in order to avoid backlash.
"It's been really rough," she told Refinery29 through tears at the Love Is Blind reunion filming. "My dad's actually on Instagram, which is the worst part. I am 35 years old. I don't really care about people on social media, but someone told me to go kill myself and my dad saw. It's the worst part."
It's been a year and a half since Love Is Blind was filmed, which means she's had ample time to grow from the life-changing experience. For instance, she revealed in the reunion that after spending some time back home in Chicago to heal, she's now living in Los Angeles. But she still has an extremely hard time watching the show back.
"I felt like I wasn't giving the response that people wanted. I was trying to be true to myself and then a lot was also happening in my personal life," she explained. "I look back and I was definitely uncomfortable so I was drinking too much in there. I know that it's not the best version of me out there. It's super hard to see what they play back."
She recently opened up about at least one of those unseen personal issues on Instagram, explaining that during filming, her dog, Payton, needed emergency surgery that she wasn't expected to live through.
"I was beside myself, devastated and all the while cameras were rolling," Jessica wrote in an Instagram caption. "Fortunately, she made it through the surgery but they were certain she couldn’t overcome the post trauma. Every night after working and filming my struggles with whether love was blind or not, I would go lay with her in the ICU cage and every night I thought would be the last time I would see my pretty girl. This went on for ten days."
Thankfully, Payton made a full recovery (and celebrated with a glass of wine), but Jessica is still rebuilding herself from the backlash.
"I understand a little bit where it comes from," she said, still visibly upset. "But people have been really cruel."